Is this the first Tampax tampon? Go to Early Commercial Tampons
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Part of the Tampax menstrual tampon patent

Tampax enjoys its fame from having sold the first tampon with an applicator, patented (1926900, filed 19 November 1931, dated 12 September 1933, above) by Dr. Earle Haas of Denver, Colorado (U.S.A.). Other companies in the U.S.A. sold tampons without applicators before 1936. (See the Wix tampon, for example, or probably Nunap and fax, neither of which were patented.) Read more about this in Tampax's company history.

Dr. Haas was born in 1888, graduated from the Kansas City College of Osteopathy in 1918 and spent 10 years in Colorado as a country general practitioner, then went to Denver in 1928.

He invented a flexible ring for a contraceptive diaphragm (and made $50,000 from selling the patent), sold real estate and was president of a company that manufactured antiseptics.

Haas wanted to invent something better than the "rags" his wife and other women had to wear, he said, and got the idea for his tampon from a friend in California who used a sponge in the vagina to absorb menstrual flow.

So he developed a plug of cotton inserted by means of two cardboard tubes; he didn't want the woman to have to touch the cotton. (All this information comes from the Tambrands booklet "Small Wonder: How Tambrands began, prospered and grew," no date, but published probably in the middle 1980s, I believe to celebrate Tampax's 50th anniversary.)

After failing to get people interested in his invention (including the Johnson & Johnson company, which would later sell the contemporary applicatorless Wix tampon), on October 16, 1933 he finally sold the patent and trademark to a Denver businesswoman, Gertrude Tenderich, for $32,000. She started the Tampax company and was its first president. Tenderich was an ambitious German immigrant who made the first Tampax tampons at her home using a sewing machine and Dr. Haas's compression machine.

The London Sunday Times newspaper in 1969 named Haas one of the "1000 Makers of the Twentieth Century."

After selling the rights to the tampon, he continued with his doctor's practice and various business enterprises. He regretted later selling the rights, but was glad it was successful, and died at 96 in 1981. Up to right before his death he continued to try to improve the tampon.

Is this the first Tampax tampon? Go to Early Commercial Tampons

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